Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

    • monkey84
    • By monkey84 2nd Oct 16, 12:56 PM
    • 22Posts
    • 3Thanks
    CV Advice
    • #1
    • 2nd Oct 16, 12:56 PM
    CV Advice 2nd Oct 16 at 12:56 PM
    Hi All,

    I'm in need of some advice please. I clearly remember being taught at school that a CV shouldn't be any longer than 2 pages as an employer wouldn't read more than that. Admittedly this was over 15 years ago, but it sounds sensible! My CV is in a format, where, apart from my education and interests, I list all my jobs in date order and give a short description of the main duties, achievements, key skills gained in each etc (with less detail for the earlier jobs). This has always worked well for me in the past and I have been told by several recruitment agencies that it is a good format to use. However, I'm now rewriting it and am at the stage where I have had enough jobs, that I can no longer fit everything onto 2 pages. As far as I can see, my options are the following:
    • Go over 2 pages
    • Leave off the earlier jobs or just give job titles but no description

    What would you do/have you done, please?

    Many Thanks.
Page 1
    • elsien
    • By elsien 2nd Oct 16, 1:08 PM
    • 16,402 Posts
    • 41,450 Thanks
    • #2
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:08 PM
    • #2
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:08 PM
    My most recent one had a paragraph as a overview/ career profile - summary of the job history focussing on the ones most relevant to the job I'm applying for.

    Then key skills in bullet points.

    Then the career history - more detail in the later relevant jobs about what the role involved , the earlier ones amalgamated as they were much of a muchness.
    Then educational and professional qualifications. Vocational training.
    And the final personal information couple of sentences.

    Seemed to work ok in getting me interviews. With the usual caveats about leaving stuff off if there might be a perception you're overqualified which happened on a couple before I cottoned on.

    I think the big difference from the old fashioned CVs is now putting the key skills at the fore all in one go, so you grab people's attention in one go, rather than them having to plough through the lot to see what you can do.

    This was after I was made redundant and went on a day course to update the CV etc - run by a recruiter who rolled his eyes in horror at mine where the layout hadn't changed since I left school!
    Last edited by elsien; 02-10-2016 at 1:20 PM.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • monkey84
    • By monkey84 2nd Oct 16, 1:17 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    • #3
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:17 PM
    • #3
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:17 PM
    Thank you. The Key Skills at the top sounds like a good plan.
    • exiled_red
    • By exiled_red 2nd Oct 16, 1:25 PM
    • 237 Posts
    • 156 Thanks
    • #4
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:25 PM
    • #4
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:25 PM
    I would just focus on the most recent and most relavent jobs to the type of position you are looking for, and I would go into detail about these positions. Going further back I would just put job titles and dates and no further information if they were a while ago. The purpose of the CV is just to get you to the interview stage, if necessary you can explain anything related to these jobs there but I imagine that anything from a long time ago is likely to be less relavent or unlikely to come up.
    • ThemeOne
    • By ThemeOne 2nd Oct 16, 1:30 PM
    • 1,217 Posts
    • 1,029 Thanks
    • #5
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:30 PM
    • #5
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:30 PM
    The jobs you can't fit onto more than 2 sides probably fall into the "ancient history" category and as such unlikely to be of much interest to employers.

    You could just put something to the effect that further details of roles held prior to (whenever) are available on request. It's what I've done on my CV and never had a request for information about the old jobs.
    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 2nd Oct 16, 1:47 PM
    • 22,728 Posts
    • 57,041 Thanks
    • #6
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:47 PM
    • #6
    • 2nd Oct 16, 1:47 PM
    On mine, jobs > 10 years ago are listed as date - employer - role title but with no detail.
    Mrs Marleyboy

    MSE: many of the benefits of a helpful family, without disadvantages like having to compete for the tv remote

    Proud Parents to an Au-some son
    • Elfbert
    • By Elfbert 2nd Oct 16, 10:01 PM
    • 533 Posts
    • 674 Thanks
    • #7
    • 2nd Oct 16, 10:01 PM
    • #7
    • 2nd Oct 16, 10:01 PM
    I haven't had very many jobs, but I still skim over my first few jobs in the vaguest way.

    1997-2003 - Various retail positions, ending in Supervisor role.

    Then onto my other jobs which are actually relevant to my career now. They can always ask me about those exciting years in Safeway and Homebase and Littlewoods Index whilst I was at school/college/uni if they just can't hold back their interest...
    Mortgage - 68,000 may 2014 45,680.
    • YouAsked
    • By YouAsked 3rd Oct 16, 10:51 AM
    • 95 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 16, 10:51 AM
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 16, 10:51 AM
    I haven't had very many jobs, but I still skim over my first few jobs in the vaguest way.

    1997-2003 - Various retail positions, ending in Supervisor role.
    Originally posted by Elfbert
    I do this too, but add in the companies names too as a group so mine would say:
    1997-2003 - Various retail positions in company a, company b, comapny c , ending in Supervisor role at company D

    My job history basically goes:
    Uni/part time jobs
    3 really good post uni jobs
    2 ok jobs to work around child care
    1 pretty good job

    I'm aware that you're *supposed* to give less detail the further back you go, but because my job history is slightly inverse, I tend to give the same space to my earlier jobs (1 paragraph) but pull out the absolutely key *big hitter* points. and I try and avoid duplication so that by the time those 5 early jobs have been scanned I can show experience of customer service, data analysis, dealing with regulatory bodies, managerial responsibilities, resource forecasting etc. I tailor this when applying for jobs so if they are looking for management expereince, I show this in the most recent jobs rather than having it tucked away on the first two if that makes sense?

    I also bunch qualifactions together so it's X GCSEs, grade A-C inc English and Maths, rather than listing each one.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 3rd Oct 16, 12:46 PM
    • 2,508 Posts
    • 2,429 Thanks
    • #9
    • 3rd Oct 16, 12:46 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Oct 16, 12:46 PM
    For jobs early in my career, I personally just list the company, job title and dates on a single line without giving further detail.
    • Alexander S
    • By Alexander S 12th Oct 16, 4:59 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Alexander S
    You've got a few options.
    1. You can tailor your CVs so that you display only the most relevant previous jobs to each new company you approach.
    2. You can miss out jobs that you don't feel are as important. (For instance, you might have had a paper round when you were 16, but your future employers probably won't be interested in that today.)
    3. You can get somebody else to give you advice or write your CV for you.
    4. You can go over 2 pages, but keep all the relevant information on the first and second page.
    5. You can make the font smaller and reduce the line spacing, so long as it is still legible.

    I hope this helps.
    • Alcione D
    • By Alcione D 12th Oct 16, 5:19 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Alcione D
    If your earlier jobs are no longer relevant to the jobs that you are applying for now, leave them off.
    Start your CV with a short personal statement and then make a list of your key skills after that.
    Then talk about your work experience, then your education.
    Remember to leave space for two references as well. Type in Prospects Example CVs for more guidance.
    I hope this helps and good luck.
    Founder of UK job board website
    Follow us on Twitter @pinpointcareers

    '...there are no shortcuts to long-term success'
    • detectivebox
    • By detectivebox 12th Oct 16, 6:27 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Haven't read the replies to this thread (my advice may have been mentioned already), but definitely tailor your C.V to the job you are applying to and skim past anything that is irrelevant to the role or a long time ago.

    For example, let's say you work in IT, and have done for several years and are applying for an IT job, HOWEVER, in between your IT jobs you also worked for 6 months at a fish and chip shop (which clearly isn't relevant to the IT job), you would just put the dates you were at the fish and chip shop, the job title and company, but do not include job description or detail etc.

    You only want to put actual role details (e.g. responsibilities, achievements) for roles that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Put lots of detail about your previous jobs that relate to the role you are applying for, but for jobs that aren't relevant, just put employment dates and your job title/company name, nothing more.

    Also.............................................. .............................

    You must still mention anything you've done so as not to leave any gaps in your C.V. Even if you weren't employed at any time, always account for the gap e.g. career break, travelling, stay at home parent etc.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,295Posts Today

5,859Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • It's the start of mini MSE's half term. In order to be the best daddy possible, Im stopping work and going off line?

  • RT @shellsince1982: @MartinSLewis thanx to your email I have just saved myself £222 by taking a SIM only deal for £7.50 a month and keeping?

  • Today's Friday twitter poll: An important question, building on yesterday's important discussions: Which is the best bit of the pizza...

  • Follow Martin